Shop Direct appoints new chief executive

Shop Direct, the UK’s second largest pureplay retail group which operates Very, Littlewoods and VeryExclusive, has named Henry Birch as its new group chief executive.

Birch, who is currently chief executive officer of FTSE 250-listed Rank Group plc, which owns and operates Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo alongside several European gaming and casino businesses, will join Shop Direct later this year.

He will replace interim chief executive Derek Harding, who stepped into the role after Alex Baldock’s departure earlier this year. Harding will continue as interim chief executive until Birch joins the retail group and he will them return to his role as group finance director.

Aidan Barclay, chairman of Shop Direct, said: “Henry is an experienced chief executive and an exceptional leader. From both Rank Group and William Hill Online, he brings a track record of reshaping businesses to become more customer-focused, data-driven and technology-enabled while simultaneously driving outstanding financial performance.

“We’re delighted to attract somebody of Henry’s calibre and very much look forward to working with him as we continue the digital transformation of Shop Direct.”

Shop Direct names Henry Birch as group chief executive

Birch has been chief executive of Rank Group since 2014 and has been credited with leading the business through a wide-reaching strategic overhaul to create the UK’s largest multichannel gaming operator. Rank Group now has a fast-growing digital core with revenues up 15 percent and profits up 60 percent in the last year alone.

Prior to joining Rank, Birch spent four years as chief executive of William Hill Online, where he launched the company’s mobile business, driving 170 percent growth in revenue and more than doubling operating profit.

Commenting on his new role, Birch added: “I’m thrilled to be joining as unique and ambitious a business as Shop Direct. The company has been through an extraordinarily rapid and successful transformation over the last five years and flatly refuses to slow down.

“I’m looking forward to driving continued growth as Shop Direct continues to outpace its competition, and am excited to join the team to carve out the next chapter.”

Image: courtesy of Shop Direct


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